I have a confession: I didn’t really want to come home. Not yet anyway.
I am glad to be home. I have a good relationship with my family and I enjoy spending time with them. I missed my coven and other friends. I like Melbourne and I loved being with there with my beau. Three months slipped by too quickly.
Theo took me to the Melbourne Airport bright and early on Tuesday morning. After check-in, I went through security and to the gate. He was allowed to come with me, which I don’t think is allowed in US airports anymore. I was so glad he could be there with me during that final hour and he stayed until I boarded and he could no longer see me.
The hour flight from Melbourne to Sydney was uneventful and pleasant enough. I had an aisle seat and nobody on the other side. I was able to see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the plane.
After a short layover, I boarded the Qantas plane for a 13-hour flight to Los Angeles (LAX). I don’t have enough praise for Qantas. I had a window seat behind the flight attendant’s prep area, which means extra leg room. The flight attendant said to me, “Best seat in the house. Do you know someone?” What I know is SeatGuru, a website that features maps of aircrafts with a colour-coded system identifying excellent, average, and bad seats. I never choose my seat on plane without checking SeatGuru and I’ve never been disappointed with the result. I highly recommend it.
On my awesome window seat, I found a pillow, blanket, and a bag with a sleeping mask, a toothbrush, and a small tube of toothpaste. Although Qantas offers excellent in-flight entertainment that includes some of the latest movie releases, popular television shows, gaming, and plenty of music, I settled in with my Kindle. I read The Hunger Games and enjoyed it. The movie is not exactly like it (it never is), but the film is a good adaptation.
Qantas has the best airplane food I’ve ever had. Unlike the pitiful domestic flights in the US that don’t give you even a bag of nuts for free, Qantas has a menu of meals and snacks that are included in the cost of flying. For dinner, I selected four cheese ravioli in mushroom sauce on a bed of spinach. It came with a salad, rice pudding for dessert, a drink (I like water with my dinner), a chocolate bar (for later) and a little box of mints.
As the flight went on through the evening and into the night, passengers were offered drinks, fruit, cookies, a delicious mango and cream frozen bar, and pizza. I managed to snooze for a few hours and, in the morning, I opted for the continental breakfast of cereal and milk with fruit, a muffin, coffee and orange juice.
I had a four-hour layover in Los Angeles. I had to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was easy. I also had to get my bag and re-check it because I moved from an international flight to a domestic one. That wasn’t so bad, but figuring out where I had to go after that was confusing. I had to go through security again for the third time. The terminal was busy and crowded and hot food was hard to come by. The line at Chilli’s was very long and Burger King ran out of food. I ended up purchasing a lousy turkey sandwich for $8.50 from a small vendor and a crappy hot chocolate from Starbucks. I couldn’t wait to get out of LAX.
The five-hour American Airlines flight to Miami was wretched. The airplane seemed ancient. I had a window seat and no neighbour, which was good, but a small girl sat behind me and spent much of the flight kicking and pushing my seat. Her mother rewarded her with coos and kisses. There was no complimentary food on the flight, but for $8 you could purchase a little box containing four crackers, four slices of cheese, some grapes and nuts. Thankfully, drinks are complementary. The in-flight entertainment was lame and featured on a few fixed monitors throughout the plane rather than individual ones so everyone had to watch the same thing. Headsets are available for sale. Thank goodness for my Kindle and iPhone.
I arrived in Miami about 11pm and went down to the baggage carousels. In less than five minutes, they announced three different carousels for my flight, and you could hear the groans as people travelled back and forth. Typical Miami, nobody knows what’s going on. I took a cab and was home by midnight. My mother greeted me. My cat gave me the stinkeye.
It’s nice to be home. I spent some hours visiting with my sister and the kids and catching up with friends. Meantime, I’m thinking about when I’ll be able to get back to Australia.